Don’t Be The Hallmark Dad, Be The Imperfect Father says Rohan Vyavaharkar
As we head into this weekend, there will be an explosion of memes, listicles and all those other ‘clickbait’ category of pieces that will celebrate the ‘perfect fathers’ of this world just like this piece from last year. Even though I’ve only been a father for about four and a half years, I can confidently say I’m not one of those fathers who will be written about. I don’t intend to be one either. It’s too much hard work to be a Hallmark dad, so I’d much rather be the sort of father my daughters need.
During one failure, he showed me integrity. During another, he taught me that you can still be kind to people during adversity.
I really wish we celebrated the imperfect fathers as much as the peerless ones. According to me, it’s the fathers who have erred, who’ve faltered, who waver are the ones that help us become better humans ourselves. The strength of a human is measured in their ability to bounce back, to soak in pressure and keep powering on. To me, the word perfect before the word father means they haven’t failed. It says they’re so good at what they do that they’re never under any stress.
Refuse to fit in. Just be. And remember that perfection is a myth.
My own father made several bad decisions. Yet, each of his worst moments taught me something very valuable. During one failure, he showed me integrity. During another, he taught me that you can still be kind to people during adversity.
While my own dad left me with a legacy of learning, what would the estate of my errors teach my girls? In my imaginary ‘will of mistakes bequeathed’, I’d like to think my parting words would read something like this –
Don’t be afraid to fail in love. I’d never have met your mother if I’d just settled down with the first girl I fell in love with. Though, don’t fail to just try something or someone new.
Be broke. Not once, but maybe several times. It’ll teach you that money is transitionary. Save, invest, yet enjoy it. There’s no point in saving up for a rainy day when you can buy an umbrella instead.
Lend your money, your trust, your shoulder but don’t expect it to be reciprocated. It’s better to be a lender than a borrower, especially when it comes to things that don’t get in the way of living life.
Play the Fool
It doesn’t matter what people say or think, in any aspect of your life. So, dance and sing and do cartwheels because the only thing that matters is how you feel when you do it.
It’s okay to not know the route. Forget about Google maps, leave your phone behind, follow your own footsteps. You’ll discover new routes and most likely, yourself.
So, be a misfit, be the sore thumb, wear that tank top to show off that piercing even when they’re not in fashion, listen to Carnatic classical when everyone is grooving to the next Bieber. Read the Bible while everyone swoons over that posthumous Marquez. Refuse to fit in. Just be. And remember that perfection is a myth.
Rohan Vyavaharkar is the Deputy MD of a sports and wellness company and a hands on father